Much like when we hear about research questions showing up on the exam, seeing the term “macro social work” (or “indirect practice”) can send a shiver down our clinically focused, micro social worker spines. I remember dreading these types of questions when I was preparing for my ASWB social work licensing exams (both master’s level and clinical). Macro social work is one of the topics most frequently asked about by individuals I coach-especially for those preparing for their licensed master social worker exam where a higher number of these types of questions show up.
I work with many individuals who’s brains go into panic mode or completely shut down when they see a macro social work question. The unfamiliar can be anxiety-provoking, and no one wants to feel out of their comfort zone on exam day! What I want you to remember as you approach these questions on the exam is this: you don’t need to have direct experience in macro practice to answer these questions correctly. While macro vs. micro questions seem vastly different on the surface, in reality, they have a lot in common. We are going to approach macro social work questions very similarly to how we approach clinical scenarios on the ASWB social work exams.
Macro vs. Micro
Think about it this way: whether you are evaluating a program (macro) or evaluating an individual client’s progress (micro), the general flow of steps is going to be the same. You aren’t going to draw conclusions or make recommendations first. Rather, you will generally start by ensuring you have an understanding of the goals of the program (or if we’re looking at an individual, the goals for their treatment). We will look at how the treatment was implemented and what, if anything, got in the way. Similarly, whether you are developing a program for an entire community or a treatment plan for a single person, many of the steps you take are going to be the same. You have to understand the person or population, bring together a team, and understand their needs and goals before implementing any interventions.
While these used to be by far my least favorite questions on the exam, macro social work questions no longer cause feelings of panic and dread to arise within me. In fact, when I’m able to step back from these and think through them logically, they are some of the easier and more straightforward questions on the exam.
Practice Question on Macro Social Work
A social service agency hires a social worker to evaluate the effectiveness of a program the agency implemented last year. The program works with adolescents age 12-17 who are at risk of becoming involved in the juvenile justice system and aimed to prevent entrance into the juvenile justice system. What should the social worker do FIRST in evaluating the effectiveness of this program?
A. Set goals and objectives for treatment
B. Determine who the target population is
C. Share outcome results and recommendations
D. Identify what measures were used to determine progress towards goals
Share your answer and rationale in the comments section below and check back in tomorrow for a discussion of the answer and rationale.
Still haven’t signed up for an exam preparation program? Our structured, straightforward approach will provide you with exactly what you need! If you have any questions, feel free to check in with a TDC coach. We are here to support you all along the way! You can also learn more about specific details to be a Licensed Clinical Social Worker broken out by state for your social work license.